How to Stop Your Kids Being Scared of the Dentist
It’s a common thing for children to be afraid of the dentist. Dental hygiene is important at all stages of life, but especially when we’re young, it can be confronting to climb up into the dentist’s chair. Even adults get nervous about going to the dentist and letting people peer into their mouths, so it’s little wonder that kids are often apprehensive. As normal as it is, teaching kids not to fear their dental appointments is one of the best things you can do for the health of their teeth in the long run. In this article we want to cover some of the best things you can do to stop your kids from being scared of the dentist and build good dental habits for life.
Visit the Dentist Beforehand
Do you remember being young and finding new places and experiences frightening? Your kids certainly understand the feeling. A lot of kids are scared of dental appointments simply because they’re a new experience. Luckily, visiting the dentist beforehand is an easy way to familiarise your child with the office and give them a chance to meet the people there. Try to get each of the staff at the clinic to have a quick chat with your child and show how friendly everyone is. If you call ahead you can make sure the dentist has a few minutes to spare to meet your child. When their first impression of the dentist is so friendly, the actual appointment won’t seem as frightening.
Be a Good Role Model
Your children love and look up to you, so modelling your own comfort can help your kids understand they don’t need to be afraid of dental visits. If you have a dentist appointment of your own, you can bring them along. Allowing your child to sit in on your appointment and see firsthand how friendly everyone is can take the pressure off their own visit. It’s important to pass on positive, relaxed emotions. Kids are emotional sponges and they will be able to sense any anxiety you’re feeling. If you’re one of the 36% of people who experience dental anxiety then it’s probably better to leave your children at home during your own visits.
Similarly, be mindful of the way you talk about dentist visits around the home while your children are around. Using positive words and an upbeat tone will avoid putting your child on edge before their own appointment.
Go To a Child-Friendly Dentist
Paediatric dentists are specialists when it comes to treating children. Especially if your children have special needs, a paediatric dentist can make sure the experience is a good one. When working with kids we make their visits as fun and informative as possible. In child-friendly dental clinics, the dentist and their staff will have been trained to work with kids and provide a fun environment that puts your child at ease.
Practice at Home
Games are a powerful learning tool for passing things onto your kids. Playing dentist at home is a great way of preparing your child for what happens at the dentist. Get your child to lie back and pretend you are a dentist. You can then use floss and their toothbrush to clean their teeth. Use the toothbrush to tap each tooth, counting them out and helping your child adjust to sensations they may not have felt before.
Don't Use Rewards, Make it a Routine
Often, kids are only scared of going to the dentist because it’s a new environment. Even once they’ve been a few times, it can seem confronting to have someone looking in their mouth. A big part of getting your kids comfortable with visiting the dentist is to make it a routine! We generally recommend that your children have their teeth checked and cleaned every six months, so bringing them back for consistent appointments will go a long way to keeping them comfortable. You should avoid using rewards to motivate your children if possible. The dentist should be a regular, positive experience, and not something your children will simply tolerate just to get a reward at the end.
Looking for a Kid Friendly Doctor? Book an Appointment at Camira Dental!
It’s normal for children to be a little bit apprehensive about going to the dentist, even when you’re making sure to do all the things we talked about in this article. Putting off dental appointments isn’t ideal, so it’s better to visit a dentist who can provide the patience and support your child needs. The experienced team at Camira Dental specialise in children’s dentistry and know how to put your kids at ease. Get in touch with our team if you’d like more information on our services or want to make an appointment.